The National Association for Charitable Textile Recycling


A Best Practices Toolkit for
Community-Led Textile Reuse

What is it?

These events are commonly organized by individuals, community organizations such as neighbourhood associations, and municipalities. Regular events happen annually or multiple times per year. Yard and garage sale events led by community organizations or municipalities may operate across entire neighbourhoods or cities, attracting thousands of people. Large events might incorporate music and other community activities to create a festival atmosphere.

  • Environmental – Yard and garage sales divert waste from landfills by keeping items in circulation in the local economy. They appeal to a broad range of motivations for participating (economic, environmental, social).
  • Social – Supports building community as participants engage with their neighbours. Community organizations and institutions participate and can benefit from the proceeds of the sale (e.g., church halls).
  • Economic – These events support the local economy as residents who keep the money from selling their valued unwanted items have more purchasing power; supports non-profits; large scale events of this type support job creation and revenue creation by creating a festival atmosphere where other vendors are welcome.

Value Proposition

a bunch of shoes that are on a table

How To Plan Your Own


Determine purpose and scope:

  • Is it a sale that will take place on a single street, multiple streets, through an entire neighbourhood, or will in involve an entire community?
  • Will households be simply encouraged to host garage sales on the same day or is the idea to foster a “festival” atmosphere with music and other attractions?


Consider funding opportunities for large-scale events:

  • If it is a large-scale sale, consider seeking municipal support and/or charging a registration fee to participating households to cover the cost of advertising and overhead.


Verify any local regulations or permits required for hosting a yard sale in your area

  • Coordination with the local government may be required to manage permits, road closures, or traffic management.


Choose a date and time and register participating sales.

  • Create a registration form to sign up residents to host garage sales at their homes.
  • To find garage sale hosts, send out the form through city or community newsletters and email lists and post the form on popular local social media channels and community bulletin boards.


Establish guidelines and health and safety measures


Connect with a NACTR member in advance for pick-up of leftover items

  • Even a small clothing swap often results in numerous leftover garments, providing an excellent opportunity for donation to a charity collector. Contact a NACTR member in advance of the event to schedule a pickup of the remaining items, or locate the nearest NACTR member donation drop-off center and deliver the items during collection hours.


Community Engagement and Promotion:

  • Promote the event via posters, social media, and newsletters
  • Connect with local businesses who can increase visibility of the event and bring their offerings on the day.
  • Consider collaborating with artists, performers, and other entertainers to enhance the atmosphere of the event and attract attendees.


Draw up directions, share them with the community and let it happen!

  • Consider designing a map to display the locations of participating sales.
  • These lists and maps can be distributed to garage sale shoppers online and in printed copies made available in self-serve literature stands throughout the community.


Post-event: Take Down, Manage Leftovers, and Ask for Feedback and Assess Results.

  • Bag/box the leftovers and collect them in a central location for easy transport to or pickup by NACTR members.
  • Consider establishing a mechanism to gather feedback from attendees and documenting the event to provide a report to stakeholders (e.g., participant survey via email).

Roles for Local Governments

Promote yard sale events in the local community

Provide space in community parks or halls

Issue permits and manage traffic to enable larger events

Build partnerships with charities to manage donation of leftover items.

Organize and operate municipal yard/garage sales.

Implementation Challenges and Potential Solutions

Availability of outdoor space can limit participation, particularly for those in high-density neighbourhoods and multi-family dwellings. One solution is for municipalities to secure access to community space, such as a park or gymnasium.

Leftover household items and clothing are typically the responsibility of households, which can be time consuming and may result in items going to landfill that are suitable for reuse and recycling. Providing central donation bins or securing a verified charitable partner such as any NACTR member to collect items from multi-home sales can make it easier and more convenient for yard/garage sale participants to manage unsold items and prevent unnecessary waste.

May be required to manage permits, road closures, or traffic management. Involving local government as an organizing partner can ensure you have the permissions you need. Local governments can also serve as the lead partner which addresses the coordination issues internally, as well as provide a core base of staff and resourcing, in return for events which are popular amongst residents and divert items from landfill.


Learn from Experiences

The Great Glebe Garage Sale (ON). A large, long running, and very popular neighbourhood-wide yard sale organized by volunteers from the Environment Committee of the Glebe Community Association. Participants and organizers describe a “festival” atmosphere with music, attracting thousands of people into the Glebe neighbourhood to browse the sales. Partners include: the TWIGS club at Glebe Collegiate Institute and Glebe St. James United Church. Yard sale participants can opt to donate proceeds to Ottawa Centre Refugee Action. There are no centralized donation options for residents to take unsold items. Organizers say clothing can be hard to sell and often is left over. Opportunity and interest in establishing more organized donation options for participating residents.

Coquitlam City-Wide Yard Sale (BC). Residents of Coquitlam can apply to participate in the yard sale/giveaway event, which happens twice per year. Residents sell items from their yard/sidewalk. Participants are instructed to remove any remaining items by sunset, suggesting there is an opportunity to introduce a donation component for unsold items.

Yellowknife Indoor Garage Sale (NWT). Indoor garage sale organized by the municipality. Local residents can register to sell household items (no commercial vendors). Vendors are responsible for the removal or disposal of all items from their tables. Items in good condition may be brought to any of the local thrift stores or brought back home for resale. No donation options available at the event.

City of Toronto Secondhand Sundays (ON). City-wide free outdoor giveaway event. Residents leave unwanted items on the curb or lawn for neighbours to take for free. Any items untaken should be taken back indoors by residents. No known option for donation as part of this event.

NACTR Communities Make Differences

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